bridging corona hero

Sustainable Futures Programme

The historian Peter Hennessy has said that we will look back and divide history into ‘BC’ - Before Corona - and ‘AC’ - After Corona. We are currently living in ‘DC’ - During Corona.

Sustainability First has kicked off a new work programme on 'Sustainable Futures'. As we go through the crisis into recovery, the aim of this programme is to reconcile the focus on GDP with the need to secure economic, social and environmental wellbeing in the round to ensure the sustainability of essential services and critical national infrastructure – such as energy, water and communications.
We will:

  • Work with others to build a coalition for sustainability now - to ensure that recovery is smart, fair and green.
  • Help support strategic thinking in policy, regulatory and company activity – so that decisions are focused on the most significant distributional impacts and priorities within and between generations; and consider when radical approaches should be followed – rather than nudge.
  • Test new and innovative ways to give people a sense of agency ‘During Corona’ – developing positive visions of what we can all do for the world ‘After Corona’ - to help bring about the change in mindset and cultural shift needed for a more sustainable future.
  • Help ensure economic support strategies ‘During Corona’ are conditional - as far as possible, on joined up people centred and pro-green approaches so that sustainability becomes the new normal in procurement and planning.
  • Learn from the corona crisis - collect evidence of real-world approaches to disruption and reliability that may be helpful and relevant for addressing the climate crisis and the resilience of the natural world.

The corona virus crisis is a global human tragedy. However, as our Letter to the Financial Times of 16th March 2020 highlights, it is also a spur; a spur to galvanise policy makers, regulators and companies to work together – and with their stakeholders - for the wider common good.



Sustainability First Arts Project

The Sustainable Futures Art Project aims to set out a vision for social, environmental and economic sustainability through art, with a particular focus on climate change and the sectors of energy, water and waste. The project will bring together knowledge from these sectors and art practice, to encourage dialogue, change behaviours, educate and inspire people, through hearts as well as minds, for a more sustainable future. It will involve collaboration between artists, schools and those working in the energy, water and waste sectors. Artists’ work will raise awareness with a wide audience about the challenges faced and potential solutions. The project incorporates four main elements:

  • Artist residency programme – artist residency placements in the energy, water and waste sectors to consider and respond to issues of climate change and sustainability.
  • Education – school workshops combining education on climate change, sustainability issues and artistic expression.
  • The Sustainable Futures Art Prize – the corona pandemic is currently affecting every area of peoples’ lives across the globe. As we emerge from the crisis, how do we ensure a sustainable recovery – which balances economic, social and environmental wellbeing? Sustainability First ran Art and Essay Prizes, inviting original, radical ideas and visions in response to the question: ‘How do we build from the current corona crisis towards a more sustainable future?’  Read more.
  • Public engagement – awareness raising on climate change and sustainability issues and environmental advocacy through art works and creative processes (linked to the above).



If you would like to join us in this work, please do get in touch.